The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) initiated a campaign to bring employers, unions and government together to combat and address racism in the construction industry.
This past summer, nooses were discovered at Toronto construction sites. The disturbing acts were impetus for “meaningful changes.”
“While the recent incidents in no way exemplify the majority of the 400,000 workers, contractors and builders who work in Ontario’s construction industry, RESCON is aware that there is a problem and will continue to do all that we can to learn and educate the workforce,” says Bruno Giancola, chair of RESCON’s board of directors and senior vice president, project management at Tridel.
So far, actions include a RESCON-hosted webinar held on September 10, which featured a legal discussion on employers’ obligations when dealing with racism and discrimination incidents and a separate panel discussion on anti-racism and diversity efforts undertaken by builders and labour.
Construction Against Racism Everywhere (CARE) campaign also kicked off, with the hashtag #RESCONCare. Stickers are being distributed to construction employers and the industry for workers to post on their hard hats and around construction sites. Meanwhile, RESCON and its board of directors are also forming a coalition of employers, unions and sub-trades from all sectors of the industry.
The group will come up with ideas on how to deal with racism and change the culture of the industry. Members will also figure out a strategy to educate workers and engage construction stakeholders through conversations and meetings with the Ontario Residential Council of Construction Associations, Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, Construction Employers Coalition and Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario.
“We are very proud of the fact that we have a multi-racial, multi-cultural and incredibly diverse workforce in Ontario’s construction industry and racist behaviour of any kind or in any form will not be tolerated by any of our employers,” says RESCON president Richard Lyall.